Det norsk-amerikanske historielaget I norge (naha-norge)



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DET NORSK-AMERIKANSKE HISTORIELAGET I NORGE

(NAHA-Norge)

Seminar XIII: Migration, minorities and freedom of religion

Stavanger

21.-24. juni 2017

ABSTRACTS/SAMMENDRAG for keynotes i plenum og presentasjoner i sesjoner, alfabetisk etter foredragsholder (updated pr. 16.6.2017 )



KEY NOTE SPEAKERS:
Healey, Robynne Rogers. Professor, Trinity Western University, BC, Canada.

Quakers on the Margins: Migration and Minorities in Late-eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Transatlantic Quakerism.

This paper examines Quakers on the margins or peripheries of the transatlantic Quaker community, and the ways in which their search for religious freedom coupled with their complex group identities shaped migration and community formation. Focussing particularly on Quakers who came to “Canada” in the years between the end of the American Revolution in 1783 and Canadian Confederation in 1867, this paper explores those factors that led Quakers to put down permanent roots in Canada and those that made Canada a temporary stop along the way to more permanent settlement in the American Midwest. Early Quaker settlers in Canada established themselves in frontier communities where they were free to live out their unique testimonies. Within a generation of settlement, however, colonial politics, war with their American neighbours, land shortages, and religious schisms brought Quakers into conflict with each other and with their colonial government. Quakers who remained in Canada and worked through these disputes helped create space for religious freedom for minorities, a factor that remains an important element of Canadian identity today. Those who left Canada and moved on, or back, to the United States were often propelled by factors other than just the desire for religious freedom, demonstrating that Quaker identity was complex. This examination expands our understanding of transatlantic Quakerism, a story often told from the centres instead of the margins. While the majority of the paper will concentrate on case studies of Upper Canadian (Ontario) Quaker communities populated by American and British Quakers, it will offer some comparisons with nineteenth-century Norwegian Quakers for whom Canada was a gateway to settlement in the American Midwest.



Hoem, Edvard. Forfatter.

Kvardagsliv og gudsfrykt på prærien. Forfattaren snakkar om dei tre utvandrarromanane sine: ”Slåttekar i himmelen”, ”Bror din på prærien” og ”Land ingen har sett”.
Zempel, Solveig. Professor emerita, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.

The Immigrant Trilogy of O.E. Rølvaag: Historical and Psychological Perspectives.

O.E. Rølvaag did not himself experience pioneer life on the American frontier, but as an immigrant who lived in a community of immigrants he understood very well the psychological reality of immigration. In writing his trilogy of historical novels, Rølvaag based his work on both his own lived experience and on his research into the lives of a previous generation of pioneer immigrants. In my paper I will explore the ways in which Rølvaag wove his research together with his own experiences to create a psychologically and historically realistic presentation of the lives of pioneer immigrants that is still relevant to immigrants today from many different cultures. I will also compare Rølvaag's novels with other fictional presentations of the Norwegian immigrant experience.


Papers, sessions:
Aschim, Per Kristian. Rådgiver, Den norske kirkes presteforening, Oslo.

Statsreligion under oppmykning eller migrasjonspolitisk forsvarsstrategi? Den norske statens ordinasjonstillatelser til prester som skulle arbeide blant norske emigranter i USA (Den norske synode).


Fra 1839 og utover ble ordinasjon innvilget for prester som skulle virke blant norsk-amerikanske emigranter og som misjonsprester. Etter hvert ble det etablert en presedens og en sedvane hvor særlig Den norske synode i Amerika i stor grad rekrutterte prester med norsk teologisk utdannelse og ordinasjon. I perioden 1844-1880 ble i alt 36 prester utdannet i Norge rekruttert til prestetjeneste blant norske emigranter (fra 1853 i Den norske synode). Minst 26 av disse ble ordinert i Norge av norske biskoper til amerikatjeneste.

Hvordan var det mulig for de norske statskirkelige myndigheter å innvilge ordinasjon for prester som skulle tjenestegjøre utenfor den norske statens område? Det var i slike tilfeller nødvendig med dispensasjon fra ordinære kirkerettslige regler. Argumentasjonen i disse ordinasjonssakene hos de involverte politiske, teologiske og juridiske instanser viser at forståelsen av den norske statskirken omkring 1840 var i endring, også hos det statlige kirkestyret.

Hvilke interesser hadde den norske staten og de norske biskopene av å ordinere prester for tjeneste utenfor statens og kirkens geografiske virkeområde? Lå det andre interesser bak enn å sørge for evangelisk-luthersk betjening av emigrantgrupper som ba om det? Finnes det migrasjonspolitiske eller religionspolitiske motiver for dette?
Bergland, Betty. Professor Emerita, History and Philosophy Department,
University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

World War One, Whiteness and Wisconsin Norwegians:

Considering the 1917 Progressive Vote on Immigration Restriction.

In 1917 the U.S. Congress passed the “first significant general restriction of immigration ever passed” (Roger Daniels) that included the requirement that all adult immigrants be literate (in any language), the literacy clause. For decades nativists supported the literacy test (possible code for “good”/”white” immigrants), yet three presidents had vetoed the Bill (H.R. 10384), before Congress overrode the veto of President Wilson in February of 1917 in the wake of World War One. John Mandt Nelson, a second-generation Norwegian immigrant from Wisconsin, served in the House of Representatives during WWI and was among the Republicans and LaFollette Progressives that supported the restrictive legislation. How might historians of immigration understand and interpret this vote? (Nelson served in the House from 1906 to 1933, with the exception of 1919-1921, when he lost the 1918 election, allegedly because of the "no" vote on war; he was in the minority of Congress that voted against the war: 50 in the House; 6 in the Senate.) Significant scholarly work exists on Scandinavian-Americans in progressive politics; however, less attention has been given to Representative Nelson, the controversial 1917 votes (on war and literacy) and their meanings in Norwegian immigrant communities. 

This paper focuses on Representative John M. Nelson and his 1917 vote on immigration restriction: the degree to which he represents his Norwegian constituents (or not), how we might interpret his support of restrictive legislation, and possible meanings. In addition to the Congressional Record, contemporary newspapers, and recent scholarly publications, this paper will draw upon public records at the Wisconsin State Historical Society in Madison, WI, along with the daughter's unpublished biography of her father.


Colburn, Carol. PhD, Costume Designer, USA.

Orientation - Costume Considerations for the “Uprooting” performance.
Historically accurate costuming contributes greatly to the impact that The Uprooting makes on an audience.  Costumes also help the actors “become” the real people they are portraying. I have researched time and place to reflect the characters and the setting for this timely play about immigration. In addition to time and place, each character’s backround, social status, personality, and motivation contributes to how the audience understands that character and the play.

The costumes for The Uprooting are intended to represent early 19th Century rural dress for men and women. The characters are from rural coastal Norway where economic times were very poor. Some of the real people on whom the characters are based were followers of the Quaker religion, which at that time meant their clothing was very functional, unembellished, and made of plain fabric in subtle and darker colors. Their costumes show years of hard wear. Rural Norwegian clothing of the time was largely made at home and was usually made of wool or linen by local craftspeople. Each piece represented a great investment of both time and resources.  For a significant meeting such as the one depicted in this play at the Hersdal home, guests and hosts would wear clothing for their best appearance. By looking at individual choices made for some of the characters, and documentation from the time, this presentation will provide an introduction for the audience to the historical characters they will meet in the play. 



Drange, Ernst Berge. Førstekonservator, Ryfylkemuseet.

Norwegian pioneers in the Dutch Colonial Period in America.
Local Norwegian sources from early 17th century tells us about a transatlantic community. The Englishman Henry Hudson, in Dutch service, is honored as the first European to sail into the area of today’s New York City and New York State, and up the large river that was later named after him (1609). It is less known that around the same time, the Dutch-based sea captain and explorer, Hendrick Christiaensen, together with his fellow captain, Adriaen Block, did more recent studies of these waters, for example stating that Manhattan and today’s Long Island were separate islands. My sources provide a convincing argument that Hendrick Christiaensen was a Norwegian.

Later, in 1614 or 1615, Hendrick Christiaensen established and was the first commander of a fort on an island just south of today’s Albany, the very first Dutch settlement in the region. Block and Christiaensen also created the first map of the region in 1614.

From the early 1620s onward, the Norwegians were pioneers and a sought after group in the early Dutch colonisation, with particular expertise on lumber, sawmills and “wilderness”. Today’s Albany and Manhattan were the two early centers of the colony. The Norwegian Ole, that lived at Manhattan as early as 1626, was described as an expert in chopping trees, clearing land, and working hard. There are still several Normans kill (waterfalls) in the area, exemplifying a strong Norwegian activity at the time.

The Norwegians integrated well, with batavianization (dutchification) of the names, and also in relation to church-affiliation. Others sticked to the lutheran faith, like Albret Andriessen Bratt from Fredrikstad, who where one of the founders of the first, permanent lutheran congregation in the States, still existing.


Eckstrom, Mikal. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Becoming White on Devil’s Lake: Dakotas and American Jews.
Native American historians have documented the strategies employed by the government to “reshape” Natives during the assimilation era. At the same time, race-focused historians have grappled with disentangling “whiteness.” This word became synonymous for “American.” This section of the roundtable brings two groups not often uttered in the same sentence: American Indians and Jews. These two groups, like their Scandinavian neighbors, faced pressure to “become white,” or “American” at the same time on the same land. Whereas Jews and Scandinavians eventually claimed the benefits of whiteness, Natives remained marginalized by American society.

After the passage of the 1887 Dawes Act, Jewish immigrants, with the help of the Baron de Hirsch fund, formed agricultural communes around the Devil’s Lake (Spirit Lake) Reservation in North Dakota. At the same time, through federal programs, the government sought to “educate” the Sisseton Wahpeton nation. There, on the reservation, both groups endured rigorous programs of “uplift.” Using settler colonial studies and whiteness studies to analyze family records, government documents, and Indian oral histories, this paper explains how Midwestern Jews participated in and benefited from native dispossession. It too, details how traditional Dakota and Jewish gender norms and labor systems remained central, yet hidden, to the outside world. By following the trajectory of Jewish immigrants and their descendants, my paper makes sense of the national, racial-ethnic, and class boundaries that Jews crossed in order to promote their own interests as they carried out and critiqued federal Indian policy.



Eide, Kristbjørg. Translator and Director, USA.

From Manuscript to Performance Piece (The Uprooting).
My presentation will be about the discovery of a Norwegian immigration play and its development into a performance piece presented for American audiences and now brought back home to Norway. The play, The Uprooting, was written by Vigleik Rosseland, who was born less than a century later than the play’s historic main character, Cleng Peerson.

Vigleik’s original handwritten manuscript was not dated, nor is there a record that this play was ever performed during his lifetime. Could he have written it in 1925 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary celebration of the Sloopers embarking on their historic voyage aboard the Restoration? The Uprooting is well documented and researched, and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the playwright could have known individuals in his own community who had first-hand knowledge of the actual emigrants he portrays.

It is the people – poor Norwegian farmers – who capture Vigleik’s imagination and, in turn,

speak to us in this play. While Cleng Peerson is the main character, the play is not mainly about him. It is about poor families who want better for their children, perhaps not unlike the family in which Vigleik Rosseland, himself, grew up. The power of the playwright’s writing lies in the details. By centering his play on self-described “plain and simple folk” and giving voice to their realistic fears of being permanently “uprooted” from family, friends and homeland, he comes hauntingly close putting us in direct contact with real people in history and forces us to identify with the heart-wrenching dilemma of the emigrant decision.

By making certain artistic choices in creating our production of The Uprooting, we employ music to further explore the emotion generated by this dilemma. We also use Vigleik’s story of the 1825 emigration from Norway as point of reference for sharing a newer Norwegian immigrant story from our own time.

Today, we are lucky to have found The Uprooting, which was originally entitled About the First Emigration to America 1825. Vigleik Rosseland’s manuscript was discovered serendipitously by his granddaughter Kristbjørg Mannes, handed over to her son Thomas Mannes, who shared it with his American immigrant relatives, who then teamed with Thomas to translate and produce the play. For the first time, at the play’s 2013 premiere performance in Duluth, Minnesota, the Norwegian immigrants so carefully researched and documented by the playwright many years ago in Norway finally spoke their words to a live audience.



Godbolt, James. Førsteamanuensis, Høgskolen i Sørøst-Norge.

Religion og integrering i Drammen frå 1970 til i dag: Konflikt og harmoni i eit lokalhistorisk perspektiv.
Presentasjonen handlar om betydninga av religiøs identitet og praksis for intergrering i Drammen, spesielt i tida etter 1980-talet. Då var familiane til dei første arbeidsinnvandrarane komne til Norge, og religiøse spørsmål fekk ein sentral plass i familielivet til fleire innvandringsgrupperingar. Integrering skal, ifølgje offisiell norsk politikk, vere ein tovegs tilpassingsprosess mellom majoriteten og minoritetsgrupper. I integreringspolitisk samanhengen blir religion spesielt interessant. Religionsfridom i kvardagen, dvs. utøving av religiøs praksis, er i fleirreligiøse samfunn i seg sjølv ei kollektivt ekskluderande handling. Religion kan dermed hjelpe innvandrarane til å verne om og forsterke sin eigen etniske identitet, men samtidig kan religiøse praksisar føre til segregering og hindre integrering og inkludering i mottakarsamfunnet. Religiøse konfliktar skjer ikkje berre mellom majoriteten og minoritetar, men kan også føre til identitetspolitiske konfliktar innanfor ein og same nasjonal minoritet, slik som i tilfellet for norsk-tyrkarar i Drammen. Med utgangspunkt i ulike former for religiøs samhandling – både konfliktar og samarbeid – skal vi sjå korleis religion har spelt ei viktig rolle i utforminga av dagens fleirkulturelle samfunn i Drammen. Til slutt: finst det parallellar i norsk utvandringshistorie når det gjeld religion, innvandring og integrering som kan kaste lys over den samtidshistoriske situasjonen i Drammen – eller omvendt?

Religion and integration in Drammen from 1970 to today. Conflict and harmony from a local history perspective.

This presentation deals with the meaning of religious affiliation and practice for the integration of immigrants in Drammen, especially after the 1980s. At that time, the families of the first migrant workers had settled in Norway and religious matters had become a central aspect of family life for many immigrant groups. According to official Norwegian policy, integration should be a two-way adaptive process. In an integration policy context, religion is especially interesting. Religious freedom in everyday life, i.e. the practicing of religion, is in a multi-religious society collectively exclusive. In this sense, religious practices can contribute to conserving and strengthening an immigrant ethnic identity. However, at the same time religious practices can also lead to segregation and prevent integration and inclusion in the host society. Furthermore, religious conflicts occur between not only the majority and immigrant minorities. Rather, they can also be the roots of intra-ethnic friction as in the case of the Norwegian-Turks in Drammen. We shall examine various forms for religious interaction, both conflictual and harmonious, in order to grasp the role of religion in the formation of today’s multicultural society in Drammen. Finally, are there parallels in the history of Norwegian immigration concerning question of religion, immigration and integration that may shed light on the contemporary historical situation in today’s Drammen – or vice versa?


Gulliksen, Øyvind. PhD, professor emeritus, Høyskolen i Telemark.

Dear Father’: Elisabeth Koren’s Letters Home.



The Diary of Eisabeth Koren, translated and edited by David T. Nelson in 1955, has become a classic in Midwestern immigrant literature. It has since been issued in numerous reprints. Elisabeth Koren (1832–1918) and her husband, pastor Ulrik Vilhelm Koren (1826–1910), left Larvik in the fall of 1853 and arrived in Iowa shortly before Christmas that year. Her diary covers the years from 1853 to 1855, only. It was well known that over the years she wrote letters to her father and her step-mother in Larvik, but these letters were considered lost, until they reappeared in Decorah a few years ago and were donated to the archives at Luther College. The collection of her letters includes more than 150 letters which she wrote and sent back to Norway from 1853 to 1867. Writing about her husband, her children, her garden, her reading and her activities as a pastor’s wife and a mother of several children, she documents and comments on her first fourteen years in Iowa. She is a splendid writer and a keen observer of nature and of life around her, as well as an astute commentator on what went on in the Norwegian Synod at the time, including the founding of Luther College in 1861. Her letters constitute probably the largest single collection of America-letters written in Norwegian by a single person. Her letters are an important contribution to Norwegian-American literature and to the corpus, in Norwegian, of women’s writing at the time.

Hansen, Karen V. Professor, Brandeis University, USA.

Reservation Homesteading: Scandinavians and Deepening Indian Dispossession, 1887-1934.
This paper links the process of Indian land dispossession to Scandinavian immigration to the United States. It does this through focusing on one avenue for immigrant land taking: legal settlement on Indian land.

We begin by pointing to one long-ignored stipulation of the Dawes Act of 1887: after allotment, “surplus” land on reservations could be homesteaded by white settlers. When Dawes was passed, Indian reservation land totaled more than 136 million acres. By 1934 and the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act, Indian land had contracted to 52 million acres. This massive dispossession was a result of reservation homesteading and Indian land sales. In key locations on the Great Plains, Scandinavians benefited disproportionately from this land availability.

This paper explores homesteading on four reservations—two in North Dakota (Spirit Lake Dakota and Fort Berthold) and two in Montana (Flathead and Crow). Once homesteaders lived on reservations and began farming and ranching, they sought to buy more land. Indian land loss was an iterative process that shaped the changing circumstances of identity of Native Americans and Scandinavian immigrants, their relationships with each other, and the meanings of land.

By documenting the magnitude of homesteading and land sales on Indian reservations, this paper puts in stark relief the costs of rural immigrant settlement in the early twentieth century. It probes the consequences of homesteading and purchase of Indian land. What was the variation between homesteaders and land buyers of different national origins? Did gender matter? Did women and men behave differently in their land taking practices? Were Scandinavians unique in their land taking, or did they act as a land hungry group indistinguishable from others?


Hjelde, Arnstein. Dosent, Høgskolen i Østfold.

(Med Janne Bondi Johannessen, se sammendrag der.)



Modersmål er vort hjertesprog (…) sødt i liv og sødt i død, sødt i eftermælet!

Litt om språk og språkbruk i Det norske Amerika i dag.
Johannessen, Janne Bondi. Professor, Universitetet i Oslo.

Modersmål er vort hjertesprog (…) sødt i liv og sødt i død, sødt i eftermælet! Litt om språk og språkbruk i Det norske Amerika i dag.
I over hundre år har man forsket på det norske språket i Amerika, og særlig kjent er Einar Haugen, som i 1953 publiserte det banebrytende verket The Norwegian Language in America, et arbeid som på mange måter legger grunnlaget for moderne forskning på flerspråklighet. Men alt da Haugen gjorde feltarbeidet sitt, møtte han et språk som var på veg til å forsvinne. I mange de norskamerikanske bosetningsområdene som han besøkte, fant han at det var bare de voksne, og særlig de godt voksne, som behersket norsk. Dette inntrykket ble bekreftet gjennom Hjeldes feltarbeid på 1980- og 90-tallet; de aller fleste av informantene da var født før 1930. Så da Bondi Johannessen i 2010 tok initiativ til å starte nye runder med feltarbeid for å dokumentere det norske språket i Amerika, var det svært usikkert hva man ville finne. Men det viste seg at det fortsatt var norskamerikanere som kunne snakke norsk, og siden da har vi hvert år reist over til Amerika for å gjøre nye opptak; vi har dekt nye områder, som Canada og de nordvestlige statene i USA, og til sammen har vi gjort opptak av flere hundre informanter. Likevel er det ingen tvil om at språket er i ferd med å forsvinne; mange av de vi i dag møter, har ikke snakka norsk på mange år, og det språket som de har, bærer også tydelig preg av dette.

I denne presentasjonen vil vi kommentere deler av det innsamlingsarbeidet som vi har gjort, og vi vil også kort peke på noen av de utviklingstrekkene som vi ser. Det er tydelig at ordforrådet både er påvirka fra engelsk og at det er redusert, og det er også mange andre trekk som viser at språket har endra seg etter lang tid i utlendighet. Alle slike endringer interesserer oss språkfolk, men noe annet som også fascinerer oss, er hvordan de sjøl ser på minoritetsspråket sitt og hvilke antagelser, følelser og holdninger de knytter til det å snakke norsk som «nedarvingsspråk». I foredraget vil vi særlig fokusere på nettopp disse sidene hos de siste norsktalende amerikanerne.


Terje Mikael Hasle Joranger. Dr. art., Universitetet i Oslo.

Prairies, Pioneers, and a Parsonage: Clara Jacobson’s Childhood Perspectives from a Southwestern Wisconsin

Abstract to follow




Jaastad, Birgit. Tidl. museumspedagog, Maihaugen.

Two Brothers, Emigrants to Different Hemispheres in the 1880s.
1887, March 1st, my son Johannes left for America.” This short sentence stems from the diary of Johannes Johannessen Aga, sr. (1814-1898). His diary is not a day-to-day account of events, he writes an annual report of the important events in the family’s life at the end of each year.

March 18th, [1887,] my daughter Marita gave birth to a daughter. Never recovering, in spite of the doctor’s attendance, she died March 24t, at 3 a.m.. Leaving behind eight motherless children, and having been an extraordinarily loving daughter, pious, patient and godfearing, her passing is painful and the bereavement great.”

In lieu of this next entry, the emigration of son Johannes might seem less worthy of further mention in the diary. But 130 years later we wonder: what impact did the emigration of the son have on the family, and what was the story of Johannes jr. who emigrated in 1887? Fortunately, the many letters from him during the years before emigrating at the age of 34, and after, from 1887 until his death in Spokane, Washington in 1906, can help us piece together his whereabouts, as well as the events and decisions of an entire lifespan. Only a few letters addressed to him from parents and siblings exist. However, he sometimes answers questions asked by mother, or comments on letters from father or other family members, so we get glimpses of the two-way communication. The brother Rikol, two years younger than Johannes, also left the homeland for good, but for Australia. The correspondence from him also exist, and will be referred to in the following, but the focus will be on Johannes’ life and destiny.

I have had the opportunity to read all of the letters from the brothers, and will attempt to take the viewpoint of a recipient. This way I hope to comprehend how the letters affected the family at home.



Kongslien , Ingeborg. Professor emerita, Universitetet i Oslo.

Alfred Hauges Cleng Peerson-epos: Dokumentarroman, historisk roman, sjeleroman.

I dette foredraget vil eg drøfte Hauges emigrantroman ut frå desse tre nemningane i overskrifta som alle er karakteristikkar forfattaren sjølv bruket på verket. Det er ikkje meininga å gå verket etter i saumane for å fastslå kva som er dokumentarisk og kva som er dikta, det ville forresten vera  ei nær umogleg oppgåve og må i tilfelle overlatast historikarane. Men derimot er det er det relevant sjå på døme der Hauge klårt avvik frå det historisk faktisk. Det gjeld t.d , at Cleng sjølv er med på overfarten på Restauration, eit grep som var naudsynt når han er valt som førstepersonsforteljar. Det spelar inn på både det tematiske og det estetiske. Men eg vil først og fremst sjå på forholdet mellom fiksjon og røyndom meir prinsipielt i denne typen roman. Og så kan ein minne om det Hauge sjølv sa om dette, at «de mest troverdige og hverdagslige begivenheter er ofte oppdiktet, og like ofte har de som leseren finner mest utrolige, fast forankring i virkelige hendelser”. Vidare blir det å  drøfte verket som historisk roman, å sjå på representasjonane av dei historiske rørslene og drivkreftene i tida og særleg på emigrasjonsprosessen. Omgrepet ‘sjeleroman’ siktar til det eksistensielle aspektet i verket som er overordna i tematikken og dette elementet set sitt preg på strukturen og gjev dette verket ein særleg emigrantromanstruktur.  



Langhelle, Svein Ivar. Associate professor emeritus, University of Stavanger.

Om å komme fra sine egne og gå til sine egne.
Presentasjonen vil reflektere om hvordan bedre forstå de ulike kirkelige valg som nordmenn gjorde da de kom til USA.

De norske kom fra like norske tradisjoner, fra å ha en sterk identitet med det rituelle og prestestyrte til lekmannsbevegelser og miljøer der de lyttet mest til bønder eller kjøpmenn eller håndverkere som snakket samme språk og som ikke minst var som en av deres egne.

I det nye landet var det naturlig at de søkte det samme, men det var ikke alltid de fant det. Det de søkte kunne være kirker med samme teologiske ståsted.

Det var tre element som kunne bety noe: teologisk, nettverk av dem man kunne føle seg knyttet til, samt en åndelig leder som så, forsto og talte som en av dem, eller på annen måte møtte deres lengsler. Dette betyr at det kunne være et element av tilfeldighet hvem og hva de møtte på.

I Churching of America 1776—2005 by Roger Finke and Rodney Stark viser de hvordan det er en nær sammenheng mellom kirkelig organisering og vitalitet i betydningen engasjement. Der sterk og byråkratisk organisering ofte hindret vekst, mens man fant stor vekst der de kunne flokke seg omkring en lokal leder, svært ofte uten formell utdannelse.

I presentasjonen vil de ulike synodene i USA bli sett i lys av et norsk religiøst perspektiv.


Lavold, Jill. Director, Crazy Horse Museum, MT, USA.

Interactions Between Immigrants and the Crow Tribe.
Cowboys and Indians. Interactions between immigrants and Native Americans have generally been portrayed through the lens of Hollywood. Focusing on violent, angry Indians battling the encroaching settlers, these were the images appeared in movies and on tv screens over the years. Historical records show these fictionalized conflicts have their basis. Tribal names such as Sioux, Cheyenne, and Blackfeet appear in battle reports of the United States Army in the Northern Rocky Mountain region of Montana and Wyoming. One Native American tribe, however, rarely, shows up in those records as the aggressor - the Crow.
The majority of the Crow tribe chose to aid to the non-native people who came into historical tribal lands. The Crow were known to have helped guide gold seekers and settlers along the Bozeman Trail. Crow warriors were scouts for the army, often fighting battles alongside the soldiers.
At first, the Crow chose to ally themselves with the white people because of the Crow’s adversaries. Other Native Americans, mentioned previously, had early access to guns that the Crow did not. Later interactions between the immigrants and the Native American Crow tribe were influenced by the vision of Chief Plenty Coups (1848 approximately - 1932). This vision foretold the overwhelming number of white people coming into their lands. He understood what the threat of this influx would mean to the Crow tribe. His wisdom led his people to retain much of their heritage and culture instead of wasting their resources in battles where, per his vision, they would ultimately be defeated.
Using interviews with Crow tribal members, historical records and other sources, I will show that Crow interactions with immigrants were different from the other tribes primarily because of Chief Plenty Coups’ vision.
Leonard, Samantha. Brandeis University, USA.

(With Karen V. Hansen, see abstract there.)



Reservation Homesteading: Scandinavians and Deepening Indian Dispossession, 1887-1934.

Lindbekk, Kari. Cand. philol, PhD-stipendiat.

Norwegian migrants in the 19th century- their motivations and qualifications. No brain drain and no social dumping.
Norwegian abstract:

I Trøndelag ble det i 1855 født 4942 barn – 2335 jenter og 2607 gutter. I arbeid med ph.d.-avhandlingen har jeg etablert en database med individopplysninger om denne fødselskohorten fra kirkebøkenes dåps-, begravelses-, konfirmasjons- og flyttelister, fra folketellingene 1865, 1875, 1890, 1900 og 1910, og fra emigrasjonsprotokoller. Databasen omfatter også opplysninger om kohortens foreldre som ble født i tiden 1815-35. På dette grunnlag følges livsløp i to generasjoner i tiden da Norge var selvstendig nasjon i union med Sverige.

 Avhandlingen gjelder i hovedsak forhold knyttet til demografi, økonomi og sosiale forhold. Når jeg følger kohortens utvikling fra fødsel til 55 årsalder, legger jeg imidlertid også vekt på at den bar med seg en kulturarv fra konfirmasjonsundervisning og skolegang som i tillegg til lese-, skrive- og regneferdigheter hadde gitt dem et felles verdigrunnlag - til sammen en referanseramme som var kjent lokalt, andre steder i landet og blant norskamerikanere på motsatt side av Atlanteren. Det var et startgrunnlag som må ha kommet godt med for den enkelte som samfunnsborger, som yrkesutøver og som ansvarlig for en familie. Det er tema for mitt innlegg i Stavanger.

 Jeg deler fødselskullet 1855 i tre hovedgrupper - hjemfødinger, utflyttere i Norge og emigranter - som jeg sammenlikner på bakgrunn av sosial bakgrunn og personlige egenskaper - herunder skoleflinkhet som jeg vurderer på grunnlag av konfirmasjonskarakterene. En konklusjon er at det dreide seg om tre i hovedsak likeverdige utvalg.






Linde, Llewellyn, USA.

Elise Biorn-Hansen Boulding: Norwegian-American Peace and Family Advocate.
Elise was born July 6, 1920 to Birgit Marianne Johnsen and Josef Biorn Hansen in Oslo, Norway. Professionally her mother was a therapeutic masseuse and her father was a graduate engineer. As a young adult in Norway, Elise’s mother held ideas that may, at the time, have been considered unconventional, like organizing clubs and activities for women factory workers and marching in peace parades as part of Syttende Mai celebrations. It can be said that her mother was an early role model for Elise, encouraging her views surrounding peace and humanity.

At the age of three, Elise’s family emigrated to the U.S. and settled in East Orange, New Jersey. Raised in a traditional Lutheran home, she went through a time of spiritual questioning and doubt in her high school and college years. Her extensive education began at the New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass College, a part of Rutgers University), where Elise worked as a professional cellist in small musical groups to pay her tuition. By chance, while a college student, she became acquainted with several Quaker musicians and subsequently discovered Quakerism. The silence of a traditional Quaker meeting coincided with Elise’s childhood experience of silence at home, and through that experience, she became an active, practicing Quaker. By becoming a member of the Society of Friends, the

Quaker philosophy became the driving force of her life. After a brief courtship, Elise married Kenneth Boulding in 1941. Ten years her senior, he was well known in Quaker circles as a gifted speaker and poet.

Elise continued her studies by earning a Masters degree in sociology from Iowa State in 1949 and a Doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan in 1969. She can be credited as an author or co-author of 15 published writings. Topics include works about children, women, family, cultures of peace, and abolishment of war. Additionally, Elise wrote numerous pamphlets and edited five books. She served on the faculties of many institutions, including the University of Colorado, Dartmouth College, and Douglass College.



In this paper, it is my intention to present how Elise Biorn-Hansen Boulding stayed true to her Norwegian heritage through her tireless work in the cause of peace and advancement of humanity until the time of her death in June 2010.

Lovoll, Odd S. Professor emeritus, St.Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota / Prof. II UiO.

America Calling. Reflections on Childhood Memories.
I am currently researching and writing my memoirs. The working title: “Two Homelands: An Historians Life Journey.” The memoirs reflect my own research as an historian and expand to become a historical treatise focusing on migration and Norwegian and Norwegian American history during my lifetime.

The book will be published in both an American and a Norwegian edition. My paper will be based on my memoirs, in particular the three first chapters (six chapters in all), which cover my wartime childhood in Norway, the Norwegian American ethnic revival during World War II, and the postwar immigration and my own experiences as a young immigrant. My reflections and historical analysis and interpretation will place my early memories in a broad historical context. As a trained social historian, I am greatly interested in the individual, and I have conducted interviews with people I associated with, family and friends, and asked for statements from others who can cast light on the process of learning a second language, adjusting to unfamiliar social conventions, and accepting a new way of life. Returning to Norway for some years, and seeking acceptance from people who simply thought of me as “the American,” felt like a painful rejection, and suggests attitudes by some Norwegians toward people who are considered “outsiders.” I am, of course, in Norway officially listed as “Norwegian-born alien.”



Lunde, May. Lektor, Ski videregående skole.

Religious Dissenters in Scandinavia and America – Perspectives on Prolonged Connections.
This presentation will define and discuss the importance of religious freedom in Norway at the time of early emigration to the USA, and the definition of the term dissenter in this context, as well as the legislation in Norway pertaining to religious dissenters from the time of the Conventicle Act of 1741 until the Dissenter Law was introduced in 1845. The early emigration of people from several religious groups, among them the Haugeans, the Quakers, the Ellingians, the Laestadians, the influence of Gustav Adolph Lammers and his followers, who were strongly influenced by Pietism from Danish and German traditions, and the influence of Fredrik Franson, Swedish immigrant to Chicago who returned to Scandinavia and played a very important role on the further development in Norway of Free Christian Congregations from the mid 1880’s will be discussed.  The development of new dissenter churches in Norway initiated by returned Norwegian immigrants from the USA, like the Methodists, Baptists, Mormons, and the Pentecostal churches will also be included.  Recent influence from American Church life on churches and church life in Norway will be outlined and exemplified. This yearning for religious freedom made many different groups of Norwegians emigrate to America, and the influence from American church life has given religious dissenters in Norway encouragement to decide to liberate themselves from the Norwegian Evanglical Lutheran State Church and organize both independent churches as well as schools.  Influence of the situation of religious freedom in the USA has, however, also created divisions and schisms within some of the branches of Christian groups in Norway, - and Scandinavia, especially among the Laestadians.  Recent Charismatic Christian movements, and the music style of Gospel music and other American influence on work in the churches among the Christian youth has had great influence in Norway in recent years.
We can speak of the migration of Christian traditions from Norway to America, especially among the lay Christian traditions, including Christian hymns that have been translated into English, and of influence back to Norway from continued contact with American church life, both from the earliest emigration from Norway to America, and from the time of the emigration of the different dissenter groups, as well as with the tradition of American revival movements  in recent years.
It will be an interesting challenge to find out why the dissenters emigrated to America after the Dissenter Law was introduced  in 1845.  However, it is no secret that many dissenters were met with sharp criticism, for instance, by local church authorities.

Løken, Lise B. Høgskolen i Østfold.

A Bright Young Girl's Struggle against Reactionary Attitudes Success as Most Respected Professor at the University of Wyoming.


This year marks 160th anniversary of her birth in 1857. She was Agnes Mathilde Wergeland and Norway's first woman to attain an academic doctorate degree, and she was the very first woman university professor with Norwegian nationality. She was ahead of Professor Kristine Bonnevie in zoology at the university in Christiania and the first woman to attain a doctorate degree at the Royal Fredriks University in Kristiania, in 1903.

A contemporary of Henrik Ibsen, whose close friend, Camilla Wergeland Collett, Norway's first feminist, had introduced Agnes Wergeland to the "Women's Literary Club".  Aasta Hansteen, equally famous and inspiring, female artist and painter, corresponded with her, and helped publish Dr. Wergeland’s Norway-America articles recommending production, education and development in her ‘home’ country.


During her visit to Norway in 1909 to publish her first book of poems, later America Magna (1912?), and to learn of academic opportunities, she met with the leader of the Association for Women’s Right to Vote, Gina Krog, To her disappointment, Dr. Wergeland learned of no academic opportunities for women in Norway. The law permitting women to hold public office passed three years later, in 1912.

In America, as Head of Department of History at University of Wyoming Agnes Mathilde Wergeland enjoyed a career fitting her long and hard struggle to succeed in the academic world. She was a renowned author of many learned articles, a connecting link between European and American intellectuals, and a much loved and cherished university lecturer, in the American mountain state of Wyoming.



? Løvlie, Birger. Professor emeritus, Høgskulen i Volda.

The Norwegian American argument.
In the 1920s, the famous Norwegian lay preacher Ludvig Hope made a journey visiting Norwegian-American churches in the Midwest. After returning to Norway, he wrote a book he called Kyrkja og Guds folk, (The Church and the people of God, 1923). The book was written primarily as a comment to the state church debate in Norway. One of his main arguments in favor of the state church, was the circumstances he encountered on the US tour. The experiences he had in a country without a state church were uniformly negative. In the Norwegian churches “over there” the freedom of the church had ended up in a chaos, where the pastor could only preach what the congregation wanted to hear. Otherwise, he risked being fired. Anyone who wanted to abolish the state church system, got this advice from Hope: Go to the United States and be wise!
Hope’s writings caused quite a stir among theologians, but that is another story. One writer reacted to Hopes depiction of the Norwegian Americans. This man was Matias Orheim, a blind lay preacher and hymn writer from Nordfjord. He had many friends among the emigrants, and his hymns were in use on the Prairie. His contacts also informed him about reactions from the Norwegian American community to Johan Bojer’s book: Vor egen stamme (Our own Tribe, 1927). The book provoked its readers because it could be understood to mean that emigrants mostly consisted of people who escaped from punishment for crimes they had committed in Norway.
Orheim decided to tell a different story. His research was done the way he could do it. He wrote letters to around two hundred emigrants, and the reports he got back, gave him enough material to write the book Villskogen (Wild Forest, published in 1929).Orheim did not hide what had led him to write the book. The version that Hope and Bojer had told, had to be corrected. The contents of the book present a biographical account of the life of Johannes Nord, who emigrated from Nordfjord as a young man. In the United States he studied theology and worked as a pastor under extremely arduous conditions.
Orheim’s understanding of church life among Norwegians in America might be summoned up in a few sentences: Those who emigrated were our best men. They created a new and more egalitarian society, and they established a church with some of the marks that Orheim wanted to see: A church with a focus on the local congregation where people serve the Lord in freedom and faithfulness.
My contribution to this year's conference aims at illustrating how "The strange American way" was used in the 1920s debate about the freedom of the church in Norway. In so doing, I will be following up my contribution to the previous conference wheere I presented my paper about the concept of freedom in the theological and political debate in the 1870s.


Mannes, Thomas. Owner of Cleng Peersons farm, Texas.

Cleng Peersons farm – from homesteading by the State of Texas to listing as historic property in USA

In 1856, Cleng Peerson was given a homestead by the State of Texas. He later partly gave it away, on the condition that he should be taken care of during the rest of his life.

In 2012, Thomas Mannes and family bought the section of this property where the original houses were located. They have since that time, worked to increase the knowledge of the property, upgraded parts of it, given the public acess, and got it listed as a National Historic Property in USA.

This presentation will give some insight in the history, and also some of the plans for the future


Meier, Ralph. Førsteamanuensis ved Høgskulen i Volda.

Kontinuitet og endring: norsk luthersk identitet i Amerika på andre halvdel av 1800-tallet. Framstilt ved Den norske synoden.
I innlegget mitt skal jeg skissere utviklingen av Den norsk-evangelisk-lutherske kirke i Amerika, også betegnet som Den norske synode, fra dannelsen i 1853 til splittelsen i 1887. Dette kirkesamfunnet er et godt eksempel på kontinuitet og endring i møte med realitetene i Amerika på midten av 1800-tallet. Jeg skal vise hvordan luthersk konfesjonell tro blant de ledende prestene i Den norske synoden var avgjørende for prestenes identitet. Dette ble synlig i den nære forbindelsen som ble inngått med den tyske lutherske Missouri-synoden. Jeg skal også vise at denne forbindelsen skapte spenninger mellom presteskapet og lekfolket som så mer kritisk på koalisjonen mellom norske og tyske lutheranere. Fokuset i synoden på den rette lutherske lære med ulike lærestridigheter førte til spenninger innenfor synoden og til konflikter mellom prester og menigheter. Den såkalte nådevalgstriden resulterte i splittelsen av Den norske synoden i 1887. I innlegget mitt skal jeg presentere hovedlinjer i Den norske synodens historie fra dannelsen til splittelsen. Jeg tar utgangspunkt i artikler og brev fra denne tiden som primærkilder, både fra prester og lekfolk.
Miller, Deborah L. St.Paul, Minnesota.

More Questions than Answers: Researching the Daughters of Norway in the American Midwest.

The presentation will build on Kirsti Alette Blomvik's  master's thesis paper on that topic from the Norwegian University of Science & Technology at Trondheim.  It will ask and try to answer questions about why so few of the records of the organization have been preserved in the U.S.


Nerheim, Gunnar. Professor emeritus, University of Stavanger.

Norwegian Settlers and Indian Encounters in Texas, 1854 – 1874.
The first Norwegians who settled in Bosque County, west of Waco in central Texas in 1854, experienced an Indian raid just weeks after arrival. They had never contemplated that they would have to deal with unfriendly Indians in Bosque County.

Before, during and some years after the Civil War a high risk of being attacked by marauding Indians was involved in settling in the counties west of Fort Worth. Indian raids in Texas did not decline to any degree until the 1870s when the settlers' war also became the soldiers' war. The peak year for Indian raids in Bosque County and neighboring counties to the west was 1867. The fourteen year old Norwegian, Ole T. Nystel, was kidnapped by Comanche Indians on March 20, 1867. After three months, the Indians sold Nystøl to an Indian trader for 250 dollars at the Big Bend of Arkansas River, Kansas.

This event made a big impression on people at the time, and especially the Norwegians. It is still a central part of Bosque County collective memory. How did the Norwegian settlers adapt to the risk of Indian raids on the frontier? Did the Norwegians in Bosque County share the harsh attitudes held and practiced by their neighbors?

The discussion about the encounters of Norwegians with Indians in Texas will draw on the New Indian History.


Olson, Daron. PhD, Associate Professor, Indiana University East.

Norwegian Americans and Concepts of Religious Freedom during World War II.
During the tumultuous years of World War II, the German occupation of Norway led to contested visions of what it meant to be Norwegian. As part of this discourse, Norwegian Americans participated in helping to define and defend notions of “true” Norwegian identity. My essay will focus on one aspect, namely that of religious identity especially as it relates to freedom. As a result of this contested discourse, Norwegian American identity came to uphold traditional Christian identities and values. However, owing to the struggle to liberate Norway, these Christian values emphasized freedom of conscience, which were seen in stark opposition to the tyranny of National Socialism. In addition, Norwegian Americans would argue that tolerance of differing religious views was also a value being fought for.

The Christian faith of Norwegian Americans was thus portrayed as bulwark against the dark forces of dictatorship.


Ringdal, Siv. PhD, seniorrådgiver, Museumsseksjonen, Kulturrådet.

Scandinavian Beauty:Whiteness and Femininity in the Norwegian Community in Brooklyn, New York
Body and migration feature frequently as debated topics in Norwegian media, particularly in conjunction with non-Western female migrants. The body is often the point of departure to discuss how these women position themselves in the relation between tradition and modernity, religiosity and secularism, and individual and collective. This debate is less common in historical studies of transatlantic migration. My paper focuses this lens on migrations to postwar Brooklyn, illuminating the transformation of young, unmarried Norwegian women during their lived experiences as immigrants in New York. In the two decades following WWII, many people fled the war-torn, poverty-stricken counties of Agder in southwestern Norway, where a lack of employment opportunities, strict economic regulations, and postwar rationing affected the future prospects of men and particularly of women. Nearly half of the emigrants looking for a better life in the US were women, and the majority of those females were young and single. A pietistic religiosity held by conservative Christians dominated the communities they left behind. Many in the region regarded dancing and moviegoing as a sin; the social regulations were particularly tough on young women, who were often not allowed to wear makeup or pants. How did these girls fare in New York, after their journey over the Atlantic? In New York the young women were confronted with a secularized female ideal. The female body was a commercialized project that utilized cosmetics, deodorants, form-fitted underwear, and manufactured clothing to express modernity, personality, and community engagement. This paper investigates the young women’s bodily experiences. I view their bodies as spaces for cultural negotiation, in which the women maneuvered among contradictory ideals and practices.











Tysdal, Olav, Associate professor, Universitet i Stavanger.

A majority of women : Economic Crises, Emigration and Population Structure.
The broad outlines of population development that characterised Karmsund and Stavanger in the 19th Century do not correspond to those in the rest of the country. Growth in the first half was considerably greater than elsewhere. By way of contrast, stagnation in the second half was more severe than in other parts of the country.

A key element in accounting for this may be found in the relationship between population development and economic fluctuations. A further obvious question to ask concerns the consequences of these developments for the population structure of these areas?

The answer is clear. In the rural areas, the proportion of males to females was equal in the period when the herring fishing industry was thriving. However, in 1890, the female population in the rural areas exceeded that of males by 140 per thousand of the mean population. In other words, it was not only the herring that disappeared; there were fewer men too. In the towns, much of the same was the case. A relatively modest gender imbalance (compared to the national average) in the towns in the Karmsund and Stavanger area in the 1840th and 1850th gave way to considerably greater imbalance by the 1890th.

What happened? Migration is obviously part of the answer to this question.

Between 1866 and 1890, an increasingly larger proportion of those who emigrated from Norway were males. The significance of this strong connection between migration and population structure should not be ignored.
Westerman, Gwen. Professor Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Moderator/chair session 3 B: Reservation Homesteading: Scandinavians and Deepening Indian Dispossession, 1887-1934 and session 4 B: Colonial history – encounters – settlers


Aarek, Hans Eirik. Assistant professor emeritus, University of Stavanger.

A critical perspective on Quaker emigration from Norway and the transatlantic Quaker culture.
It is well known that Norwegian Quakers were instrumental in the first emigration from Norway to America in 1825. What is less well known is the concern and the tensions which the emigration lead to within the Norwegian Quaker Society and also among British Friends. About one third of Norwegian Quakers emigrated in the 19th century, draining the Society of valuable resources. Britain/London YM had from the beginning supported The religious Society of Friends in Norway, and in many ways made their influence strongly felt, including their views on emigration and how it could be reduced. Britain YM was the central and best known Quaker group from the very beginning of Quakerism in the 17th century and into the 20th century, while Quakers in America gained more global influence in the 19th century.

My paper will discuss the tensions and problems encountered by Norway’s small Quaker society on the periphery of Europe in relation to a numerically strong and visible British Quaker Society. I will also be highlighting Quakers in a transatlantic setting, and particularly emphasising the migration issue. Norwegian Quakers did not only fight for freedom of religion in their own country, but also sought freedom and independence in relation to the dominating Quaker societies in Britain and the USA.

Even if Norwegian Friends were grateful for the support from overseas, including the many visits from itinerant Quaker missionaries, there seems to have been a more or less implicit striving towards attaining a degree of freedom and independence and a distinctive Quaker identity. The transatlantic influence of other Quaker cultures may to a certain extent have impeded this.

The relation between Norwegian Quaker settlers and English speaking Quakers in America – as well as their relationship to Quakers in Norway – will be discussed.






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